STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Formula One : Charles Leclerc impresses on debut in Australia

Just getting to take his place on the Formula One grid has been a emotional rollercoaster for Charles Leclerc....

Posted: Mar 25, 2018 7:04 PM
Updated: Mar 25, 2018 7:04 PM

Just getting to take his place on the Formula One grid has been a emotional rollercoaster for Charles Leclerc.

He has had to deal with the death of his godfather and mentor Jules Bianchi after a crash at the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014 and last year the passing of his own father, just before the fourth round of the F2 championship in Baku.

Charles Leclerc 13th on F1 debut

Leclerc tipped for F1 stardom

Godson of Jules Bianchi

Leclerc showed great maturity and courage to overcome those personal tragedies and add the F2 title to the F3 championship he had won in 2016.

But the step up to F1 is acknowledged to be a huge one, even for a driver as clearly talented as the 20-year-old Monegasque, so his debut for Sauber in the Australian GP Sunday was being watched closely.

After qualifying 18th and admitting the street circuit at Albert Park had proved more difficult to tackle then he had expected, Leclerc passed his first test with flying colors, claiming an impressive 13th place, just under a lap down on winner Sebastian Vettel and making several impressive overtaking moves.

"He did a great job," said team principal Frederic Vasseur, who is hoping both Leclerc and teammate Marcus Ericsson can make great strides this season.

Leclerc, whose father Herve raced in F3, started his karting career at the track near his home in Monaco owned by Bianchi's father. Leclerc has described Bianchi as "his best friend," while his father would speak to his son about some of the great F1 drivers like Ayrton Senna.

"He [Herve} would always talk to me about Senna and so I grew up imbued in that legend and he was my hero," Leclerc told the F1 webiste last year.

"I watched his Monaco qualifying laps so often, seeing him drive on the streets I would walk along every day. Taking pole, driving the perfect lap: that's really the best and it gives you an incredible thrill."

READ: Vettel wins Aussie GP after rival Hamilton suffers software glitch

Ferrari Driver Academy

Leclerc's talent was obvious from the start and after his 2016 F3 success he was signed up to the Ferrari Driver Academy.

"They give me amazing support in terms of my physical and mental preparation," Leclerc told the F1 website last year of the advantages of being a part of the FDA.

"It also means I have regular access to the Scuderia's incredible simulator, which for a youngster is an ideal way to improve one's technique and it also provides the best possible preparation for each race."

That mental preparation also included access to psychologists following the deaths of Bianchi and his father.

"I was helped a lot by the psychologists at the FDA, who made me realise how important it is for all of us to be mentally strong, especially if you are working as a racing driver," he told the F1 website.

"Today, I am more self-aware: racing is the biggest thing in my life, but I know there are other things in life and it's from them that I must draw even more energy."

"Fear? No, that doesn't exist. Even after Jules' accident in Suzuka, I never had the slightest doubt about my future. I know that danger is part of racing, but when I'm in the cockpit, all I feel is the adrenalin rush and I have never driven even a single meter, afraid that something could happen."

READ: The death that rocked F1

Initially linked with a drive with Haas, the 20-year-old has joined Swiss-based Sauber to earn his F1 stripes and will be looking to improve on his debut showing in a fortnight's time in Bahrain.

As the official Ferrari reserve driver, there is also a chance that Leclerc might get to drive for the Scuderia this season if any mishaps befell Vettel or teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Visit cnn.com/motorsport for more news and videos

He is playing down reports he could even replace Raikkonen in the Ferrari seat next season.

"I do have close ties with Ferrari, I'm one of the drivers so they're watching me, but I'm not thinking about 2019," he told his local television station in a recent interview.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 43170

Reported Deaths: 1548
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin13790791
Ramsey5357237
Dakota278196
Stearns254919
Anoka2477114
Nobles16976
Washington132441
Olmsted131920
Mower9902
Scott9234
Rice8958
Clay62738
Blue Earth6002
Kandiyohi5951
Wright5555
Carver5092
Todd4042
Sherburne3715
Lyon3592
Freeborn3160
Watonwan2720
Steele2661
Benton2433
St. Louis24116
Nicollet21212
Martin1765
Winona15315
Cottonwood1420
Goodhue1428
Le Sueur1421
Otter Tail1211
Crow Wing11612
Pine1140
Chisago1121
McLeod1020
Dodge1000
Carlton960
Unassigned9238
Pipestone904
Polk893
Murray850
Isanti840
Chippewa821
Waseca800
Itasca7612
Douglas750
Morrison701
Becker690
Meeker661
Faribault640
Beltrami580
Jackson580
Sibley582
Pennington540
Brown512
Wabasha440
Mille Lacs402
Fillmore380
Renville373
Rock350
Swift351
Houston320
Lincoln320
Yellow Medicine320
Grant310
Roseau300
Redwood250
Koochiching241
Wilkin233
Cass212
Norman210
Big Stone180
Kanabec181
Wadena180
Aitkin170
Marshall160
Clearwater140
Pope140
Mahnomen131
Hubbard110
Stevens110
Lake90
Traverse80
Lac qui Parle60
Red Lake50
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35769

Reported Deaths: 756
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk7663185
Woodbury336044
Black Hawk254459
Buena Vista173711
Johnson14938
Dallas142831
Linn141684
Scott112210
Marshall110519
Dubuque101623
Story8808
Pottawattamie84213
Wapello71531
Muscatine69745
Crawford6803
Sioux5150
Tama49029
Webster4395
Wright4021
Louisa36713
Jasper35917
Plymouth3545
Cerro Gordo3451
Warren3371
Dickinson3093
Washington2549
Hamilton2071
Boone1741
Clay1511
Clarke1453
Clinton1441
Allamakee1384
Shelby1210
Mahaska12017
Carroll1171
Franklin1170
Bremer1167
Poweshiek1118
Pocahontas1091
Des Moines1032
Emmet990
Cedar961
Henry933
Hardin920
Cherokee851
Marion850
Floyd842
Guthrie824
Taylor810
Benton781
Monona780
Jones741
Jackson720
Butler702
Osceola700
Sac690
Buchanan661
Calhoun662
Hancock631
Harrison630
Iowa631
Jefferson630
Lyon630
Fayette610
Humboldt611
Delaware571
Madison572
Lee542
Monroe547
Palo Alto530
Mills520
Winneshiek521
Clayton513
Grundy480
Mitchell480
Winnebago460
Davis431
Kossuth430
Union420
Howard370
Lucas354
Chickasaw320
Greene310
Unassigned310
Appanoose293
Cass290
Worth280
Ida240
Keokuk231
Page220
Van Buren211
Adair170
Audubon171
Ringgold161
Montgomery152
Decatur130
Fremont110
Wayne110
Adams80
Rochester
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 68°
Mason City
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 68°
Albert Lea
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 70°
Austin
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 68°
Charles City
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 70°
Nice couple days ahead, the heat is on by the weekend
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events